We have always loved a good crime-based show. It is interesting to see what makes these people tick who live on the fringes of society. What are their sensibilities like? How skewed is their moral compass? How do they outwit the authorities to get away with what they do? It is like looking into an alternative society where the law is based more on pride than dignity. The best part about such shows is the conversations between characters. It is not as much about clever dialogue as it is about people bending to the charisma of a kingpin. We cannot forget the opening scene in “The Godfather,” when people came to Don Corleone with their troubles and were given the help they needed after being shown their place in the scheme of things. The communication was so intelligent, unlike in “Ganglands,” where the whole narrative would not have taken place had that one lie been caught.
We are not comparing “Ganglands” to “The Godfather,” but we are saying that the problems just stacking on top of each other is not “gritty,” if that is what the makers were aiming for. But what really gets us is that in the entire runtime of 6 hours, we did not hear a single catchy line of dialogue or even a good joke. In fact, the realization is dawning on us that despite the strategic placement of the characters, the narrative was quite simplistic in nature, to the point that it was ridiculous how it just involved the protagonists running from one place to another. This is how “Ganglands” Season 2 plays out.
The Beginning of Another Turf War
There is a particular relationship that we love in thriller movies or series: that of the lone wolf teaming up with a child or someone inexperienced. We love it because it opens up the opportunity for a lot of humor and an education for the audience about the rules of the world that the protagonists are living in. In “Ganglands” Mehdi and Liana were supposed to be that team for us, except that neither of them has the charisma, curiosity, or relatability that must accompany this pair. All we know is that they went through some things together, and in this season, they were each other’s family. The writers really left it to the imagination of the audience to fill in the gaps in our understanding or likeability of their relationship, and that is this series’ biggest drawback.
Either way, Mehdi and Liana are planning one last heist, after which they will be going to Canada to start a new life. Chris de Witt is trying to trade diamonds with Javier, who is the son of the boss of a new cartel, Los Soles, and who wants to start trading in Antwerp. Javier is less than impressed with Chris and refuses to trade with him in favor of the Djeblis. During this failure of negotiations, Mehdi and Liana steal the diamonds and kill Chris as revenge for what he did to Shainez and Anissa. Javier is grievously injured and taken to the hospital. Mehdi and Liana were not targeting Javier; he was collateral damage. With the diamonds in their possession, the two make plans to leave in a day. Mehdi drafts his will, in which he has left everything to Liana in case anything happens to him. Had they left immediately, they could have saved so much trouble. But conflict and bloodshed finds them in a matter of a few hours.
The Los Soles cartel tries to make a deal with the Djeblis to facilitate the distribution of their drugs in the area and offers them 10% of the profit. Sofia refuses and demands 20%. She promises them that they will make sure there are no losses and reminds them that they have the edge over the competition due to their relationship with customs officials. The negotiator tells them he will have to get permission to proceed. Sofia tells Saber that when the cartel gets back, they will offer them 15%, which is when they will agree to the contract. However, it is a little too late already. The negotiator is killed by Almeida, who is the cartel boss’ right-hand man. He tells the boss that the negotiator was killed by the Djeblis because they did not like his offer. The boss is confused, as this makes no sense, but he tells Almeida to reply to them in kind. This is enough of a cue for Almeida to send his agents to the Djeblis’ house to kill them. They successfully manage to kill Sofia, but Saber escapes. He comes to know that this is the work of the Los Soles cartel and theorizes that they did this because they did not like the terms they had presented.
Meanwhile, Mehdi is attacked when he goes to meet his lawyer, and he figures that they might be Chris de Witt’s men. He escapes and warns Tony to try to leave sooner. But unknown to him, the lawyer was killed by Almeida, who is acting independently with his own agenda. From what we understand, he gave his entire life to the cartel, and it was this business that ended up taking the lives of both his children. While they were avenged by the Los Soles cartel, Almeida believes that he deserves the crown after the boss and not Javier, also because he has ambition and is far more capable than him.
Saber and Mehdi join hands.
Saber sends one of his men to speak with Almeida and tells him that he just wants peace. What Saber wants is to get himself in the same room as Almeida so that he can kill him, but this scheme doesn’t last very long. Additionally, Tony and his family are arrested by the police, and he must now agree to act as their informant if he wants his wife and children to be safe. Mehdi and Liana are unable to leave the country as planned, and all of them are stuck waiting to be eliminated by Almeida at his convenience, who is parading as the prosecutor and is going to help the police with their case. Mehdi and Liana are trying to find the person who attacked them, which leads them to Saber. They realize soon enough that both of them are victims of the Los Soles cartel and decide to team up to tackle them together. They just want peace, for which they must send a message that they are just as strong as the Los Soles. Mehdi and Saber come up with a plan that they are going to steal Los Soles’ money, coke, and a person important to them, which will be their bargaining chips with the cartel.
Did we mention that Tony is helping Mehdi, who has negotiated with the police, asking them for three days to turn himself in, in return for which he wants immunity for Liana and Tony’s family? Also, Liana has a girlfriend who is a little too enthusiastic about putting her life in danger for love. Dounia and Nahel have rejoined Liana, though their roles are mostly passive for now.
As their plan goes, Liana and Kaley successfully kidnap the “important person,” whom they mostly call, the Docker. Mehdi manages to steal the money, but Saber doesn’t steal the coke. He hands it over to the customs officials because he wants them to destroy it as revenge for what happened to his family. We come to know that Saber is not really interested in continuing to live. He has lost everyone close to him, and his wife, Coralie, is only with him for protection. He knows that without Sofia, he cannot run his empire, which makes him act recklessly with his own life.
When Mehdi sees that Saber has not stolen the coke, he realizes that he is vulnerable once again. He speaks with Almeida, who figures out that Mehdi was deceived and tells him that he will let him go if he can retrieve the coke for him, which is going to be burned in an incinerator soon enough. Needless to say, the very short-sighted Saber joins hands with them once again when his family is threatened. They hatch a plan to steal the coke when it is being moved to be burned in the incinerator. The entire mission covers one episode, but what happens is that they discover that the drugs are being burned in incinerator 4 and not 3, so they reach there just in time. They take out all the drugs but are backstabbed by one of their own, Rayane, who locks them inside. They are then rescued by Saber before they are burnt like chips, but now they must find the coke.
There are a few things that are simultaneously happening. Javier is killed by Almeida, and he blames Saber for it. The cartel boss is coming down, which opens up the opportunity for Almeida to kill him and take over control. As for Commissioner Laurence, she has always been irritated by Almeida’s presence but is manipulated by him when he sets one of his people, Valerie, to disfigure her sister’s face and blames Mehdi for it. He makes her think that Mehdi works for the cartel and, hence, must be taken out by the police.
Meanwhile, Mehdi, Tony, and Saber are out to retrieve the coke, and though they manage to find it and kill everyone else, in the act of the pettiest revenge we have ever seen, one of the guys, while taking his last breath, sets the coke on fire along with himself. Back with Liana and the others, they are attacked by Almeida’s men, who retrieve the money and kill the docker as well as Nahel. Our protagonists are not left with even a single bargaining chip. Seeing this, Tony tries to talk to the commissioner for more protection for his family and tells her about Almeida, but she doesn’t believe him. The result is that when Tony eventually finds his family, he finds them dead. Heartbroken, he kills himself, leaving Mehdi, Liana, and Saber to fend for themselves.
‘Ganglands’ Season 2: Ending Explained – Is Almeida Dead? Do Mehdi And Liana Escape The Country?
Saber’s family is being held hostage in his house by the cartel boss. Almeida has given clear instructions to Valerie that nobody from the house must be left alive. When Saber comes to meet the boss, he is held responsible for killing Javier and inciting the whole conflict. But Saber clarifies that he is only responsible for losing the coke. The boss is baffled, as he has no clue about everything that is going on. Seeing this, Valerie takes out her gun and is ready to kill him but is instead shot dead by Coralie. Saber and the boss join hands to take down Almeida together. When Almeida learns that the boss is alive, he knows he must escape; otherwise, he could lose his life. But he is arrested just as he is leaving because the commissioner figures out that Tony was telling the truth when she saw his dead family and came to know that nobody except them and Almeida knew their location.
But it is not all over yet. It feels like no matter who wants revenge or needs to get some tasks done, Mehdi offers himself for the job to “protect his loved one.” This time too, Mehdi offers to kill Almeida in return for being left alone by the cartel. He follows through on his word and tries to get him to the police station but finds that he has already escaped. Saber tells him that he might be on his private jet to Caracas, so the duo follows him there. Honestly, Almeida could have just left, but we are certain that some twisted sense of pride and anger brought him face-to-face with the two people who wanted to kill him. As he holds Mehdi at gunpoint, he is shot dead by Liana after he tells her that she doesn’t have what it takes to kill someone. We are certain that Mehdi and Liana left the country immediately after. As for Saber, he is offered a job by the cartel boss to oversee the operations in all of Europe. He tells Coralie to go to Morocco and take the kids far away from him, as he has accepted the offer. However, we believe that he has rejected it, and that certainly means more danger to come.
What Can We Expect In ‘Ganglands’ Season 3?
Like we said before, Mehdi and Liana really can’t catch a break, but that still doesn’t make their journey interesting. They are the protagonists, but the script doesn’t allow us to feel anything for them. We saw a show a while back called “Snabba Cash.” While that was a bit similar in its treatment, at least it provided the audience with an emotional core that they could connect with. That was severely lacking in “Ganglands.” If there is a Season 3, we might see Mehdi and Liana return to their country, pulled by some inexplicable reason or maybe because of Liana’s girlfriend. Mehdi will once again take it upon himself to solve other people’s problems to protect the peace of his loved ones. Saber is already spiraling into depression, and we suspect that his involvement with the Los Soles cartel is not going to be all sunshine and roses either. Honestly, a third season is not required, but if it is made, it would really need to up the ante for us to want to watch it.